Results 1–20 of 10051 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Kenneth Clarke

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: My understanding is that the Minister has just said that the Government will use clause 9, and will start legislating statutory instruments, long before the due day; it is just, having been legislated, they will not come into force until the due day. That is some kind of concession, but does the right hon. Lady agree that something better might be arrived at in the later stages of this Bill?

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: I thought for a moment that my hon. Friend meant all that stuff about my challenging the result of the referendum.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: I am sorry; I misheard my hon. Friend. I do not think for one moment that we will have completed any of these negotiations by March 2019, but I will wait to see. There are perfectly clear arrangements in article 50 for the time to be extended. I have met several other European politicians, including some of those involved in the negotiations, who rather expect that to happen.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: This debate started with an extremely eloquent and passionate contribution by the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) on the meaningful vote that this House has been promised, on the timing of that vote, and on how we can ensure that the Government do not proceed with the detail of the withdrawal agreement, and probably the ultimate trade agreement,...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: I thought a moment ago that the Minister was rejecting the idea of a meaningful vote, but I am delighted to hear that he is getting on to it. Does he accept that it is perfectly likely that as the negotiations come to an end, the Government will want to enter into a deal, but they will have given in to pressure from the right wing of the Cabinet and Back-Bench Members of the party and...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: Will my right hon. Friend give way?

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: Before my right hon. Friend tries to urge us all into withdrawing these amendments and waiting for the Government to bring forward their own amendments on Report, let me say that we have been trying to do that through 70 hours of Committee stage. It is no good regarding the Committee stage of this House as an interesting opportunity for Members of Parliament to talk to each other and for...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: My right hon. Friend perfectly clearly sets out that a serious constitutional impasse is possible if this House does not pass an agreement, because article 50, even if it is delayed a bit, will eventually lead to our leaving. That assumes—he does not do so, but some of the more hard-line Eurosceptics do—that there are people in the EU who want no deal. I have never met any such...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: I agree entirely, and my next point is linked to that. The nature of the parliamentary approval cannot just be a motion; it must have statutory basis, which is the route that the Prime Minister has followed. There are various reasons for that, but the obvious one is the extremely uncertain status of resolutions of this House under current parliamentary practice. The Brexit Secretary is only...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: Again, I agree entirely, and that takes me back to something that has occurred all the way through this process. I am obviously standing here in disagreement with the Government, of whom I am critical in many respects, due to both the policy and how it has been conducted, but I have had some sympathy with them since the election, because they are trying to carry through this enormous,...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: I will give way in a second. The debates on this Bill have typified this Government’s approach to parliamentary scrutiny. I understand their difficulties when they have no majority and their Members include people like me and those who are trying to interrupt me—we are allegedly on the same side of the House—who fundamentally disagree with each other. I have attended every...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: Qualified majority voting is an excellent innovation achieved by the Thatcher Government when we were explaining to the other Europeans how they could have an effective free trade agreement. The number of times that British Governments have ever been outvoted under qualified majority voting is tiny. Qualified majority voting could be extremely important in these negotiations, because...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: Qualified majority voting means that each Government cast a vote and, if we get a qualified majority, that is the effective decision. Each Minister who takes part in that vote is, of course, accountable to their own Parliament, to which they go home and defend their vote. If it is on a difficult, controversial subject, any sensible Minister—all those Ministers—will take the view...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: My hon. Friend is not the sort who usually repeats the more scurrilous right-wing rubbish that fanatical Eurosceptics come up with about what I have and have not said in the past. I am not, and never have been, a federalist. I would not pursue a united states of Europe. It is social media stuff to start throwing in that kind of thing when we are in the middle of a serious parliamentary...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: I agree entirely. My right hon. Friend eloquently underlines the point that the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford raised and that I am trying to make. We must have a meaningful vote before the final trade deal—indeed, the whole deal—is agreed by the Government. Let me try to lower the temperature by going back, as I rarely do, to reminisce for a moment.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: No doubt my hon. Friend will catch your eye, Dame Rosie, when he will be able to explain why he thinks the amendment is technically defective, but this is the kind of argument we have had against every proposition that has been put forward throughout the passage of the Bill. I heard the Prime Minister personally promise us a meaningful vote and then go on to explain how the Bill would have to...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: I rise to support new clause 3 and amendment 7. As mine is the second name attached to amendment 7, which was tabled by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve), who is mainly responsible for it, I also incline to the view that it is slightly the better drafted, but I will support either proposal if one or both are put to the vote. I might well succeed in...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: I will give way in just a second, but let me finish this point. That means that a meaningful vote cannot take place until a detailed agreement has been arrived at about certainly the precise nature of our trading and economic relationships with the single market of the European Union, and actually quite a lot else besides, because we still have to embark on the security discussions, the...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implementing the withdrawal agreement (13 Dec 2017)

Kenneth Clarke: The right hon. Gentleman makes one of the points that I was going to make. The most important effect of passing either new clause 3 or amendment 7 —there is actually more to this than a meaningful vote, if we consider the various stages—and achieving proper parliamentary accountability is that that would affect the tenor of the negotiations. Like every other Head of Government in...


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